Features

Bring back the bungalow!

We’re not building the right houses for our ageing population

17 October 2015

8:00 AM

17 October 2015

8:00 AM

Sheila Pugh is 91 and in good health. She lives on her own in Congleton, Cheshire, where she takes pleasure in cooking for herself and moving about the place with a dustpan and brush, albeit a little gingerly at times. She has a private garden with a pond and views over arable land.

A lot of her friends and a great number of people of a similar age have had to move into retirement or care homes, cashing in their savings and surrendering their independence in the process. Mrs Pugh’s good fortune and the difference between her and so many other ninetysomethings is simple: she lives in a bungalow. ‘It’s a real lifeline for her,’ says her daughter, who is a friend of mine.

I get that. My parents-in-law moved into a 1960s bungalow in Swaffham, Norfolk, two years ago and although at first it was a wrench to leave their cottage spread over three floors, the move couldn’t have come at a better moment. My father-in-law is 85 and suffering from polymyalgia and my mother-in-law is 81 and struggles to go upstairs unaided. But they are both a long way off a nursing home. Their bungalow has come to the rescue.

So it was good to hear Brandon Lewis, the housing and planning minister, banging the drum for bungalows at last week’s Tory party conference. ‘We need to see more bungalows being built… it is around creating a product that older people find attractive enough that they positively want to move to because there is a psychological barrier to get over.’


Lewis was talking at a fringe meeting. I don’t imagine many head honchos from the big property developers were in the audience, because builders don’t see the point of bungalows — they think ‘single-storey dwellings’ take up too much land space and don’t pay their way. That’s why the number of bungalows being built is declining year by year. It’s about time we cottoned on to this sad state of affairs if we’re serious about finding solutions to the ageing population.

In 1996, 7 per cent of new-builds were bungalows, but by 2013 that figure had slumped to just 2 per cent. It will get worse. The Papworth Trust, which specialises in helping elderly and disabled people live independently, estimates that no new bungalows at all will be built in six years’ time.

Where Lewis is wrong is in suggesting that people have a ‘psychological barrier’ to overcome about bungalows. A snooty few might, but a recent YouGov poll of more than 2,000 adults showed that bungalows are still one of the most popular types of home, with 30 per cent of us saying we would like to move into one in retirement. What’s more, 93 per cent of adults currently living in a bungalow said it ‘makes them happy’ to do so.

We hear a lot about starter homes and how David Cameron wants to turn Generation Rent into Generation Buy, but we don’t hear nearly enough about how to help the elderly avoid becoming institutionalised before they have no other choice. Yes, a lot of people in their seventies or eighties might be living in houses that are too big for them (there are some 25 million spare bedrooms among the older population) but there has to be a tempting alternative if you want to lure people out of spacious family homes. And that’s where the bungalow comes in.

Planning rules up until 2010 have a lot to answer for, not least the one that forced developers into building at least 30 dwellings per hectare — without any consideration of what some of these ghastly sprawls on the outskirts of towns would look like. That particular decree has been revoked but there’s still little appetite for building houses for the infirm, even less for the disabled.

The Papworth Trust estimates that we’re likely to need almost three million more ‘accessible’ homes by 2036 as the population ages. Of the 2.2 million new homes that will be required by 2021, half of those are expected to be homes for those aged 65 or over.

When constructing an argument for more bungalows, there’s room for a brick or two of nostalgia, but they are not, as Lewis has claimed in the past, ‘quintessentially British’. They were originally conceived by Indian builders in Bengal during the 18th century and made their debut here in the 1860s. In the 1920s we sent prefabricated versions to America, South Africa, Canada and Australia — and even back to India.

Attractive, practical bungalows still thrive in many of those countries, while here they’ve been sacrificed in favour of short-term thinking for which we will all pay the price as life expectancy continues its irresistible rise.

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Show comments
  • cartimandua

    They have to be big, near shops and facilities, not on flood plains and in safe areas.

  • commenteer

    Surely it is far cheaper, if stairs are a problem, to put in the new sort of lift that sits in the corner of a room, rather than uproot to a different house? So many of the problems of old age – difficulty getting to the shops, libraries, etc., have been resolved by the internet age. Home deliveries of anything you need, including gourmet ready-cooked food, endless entertainment possibilities, walk-in showers, Skype; these are all making your very conventional view of what old people need rather irrelevant, it seems to me. A bungalow remains a grim prospect.

  • HJ777

    Bungalows are generally hopeless for old people. Because it is such a low density form of housing, then inevitably they will be generally be further away from local services and amenities. What do these older people do when they can no longer (or no longer afford to) drive?

    More high density developments – e.g. ‘modest-rise’ flats – nearer the centres of towns and villages are a much better solution, but planning laws generally prevent such development.

    • commenteer

      I’m not old, but while at one time I drove regularly into my local town to shop, I rarely do so now. Everything can be delivered next day for less than the cost of getting the car out. If I had to give up the car, a local taxi service would be fine (and cheaper overall) for visits to friends, doctor’s appointments, etc.
      ‘Modest-rise flats’ near the centre of villages sound like an eyesore to me.

      • HJ777

        That’s fine if you want to live an existence with as little human interaction as possible and just want stuff delivered to you. You wouldn’t need a taxi to go to the GP or visit friends if you lived nearby.

        ‘modest rise’ means appropriate for the environment. In villages, perhaps 2 or 3 floors. In towns and cities perhaps 4 – 7 stories. And do you really think bungalows aren’t generally eyesores?

        • commenteer

          Yes, I think bungalows are awful. My point is that life has been revolutionised for the elderly, in terms of day-to-day functioning, so they don’t need to move into special accommodation, saying goodbye to their old community and undergoing all the expense and emotional upheaval of moving.

          • HJ777

            But this article is advocating bungalows for old people, so either it is saying that they should move into bungalows as they get older (i.e. upheaval) or it is saying that many more people in general should live in bungalows in preparation for when they get old.

            Assuming older people have problems with personal mobility and stairs, why is a bungalow out in the sticks a better option than a flat (with lift for those that need it) near local amenities?

          • commenteer

            We’re at cross purposes. The author advocates old people living in bungalows. You want them to live in purposes-built flats. I’m simply saying that, thanks to technological advances, they don’t need to move at all from their old family home, unless they want to.
            I must say that, although a flat in SW1 would be a reasonably agreeable prospect, I doubt whether a flat in a rural town or village would be an attractive option for most people.

          • HJ777

            I don’t want them to live anywhere in particular and I wasn’t advocating flats specifically for old people. What I was saying is that if they do decide to move out of a family home, flats have all sorts of advantages (proximity to services, shops, lower maintenance, etc.). Moving to a bungalow has none and therefore advocating building more, rather than more flats, is daft.

            There’s a reason builders don’t build many bungalows any more… They don’t build many flats largely because of ridiculous building regulations that mandate toytown developments.

          • Yorkieeye

            But bungalows are very sort after. Whether you like them or not lots of people are keen to buy.

          • HJ777

            Builders don’t build many for very good reason. Most of the cost of housing these days is the cost of the land – and bungalows use land inefficiently.

            Do you think that people are willing to pay much more to live in a bungalow? Builders have clearly decided otherwise. They would know.

          • HJ777

            Builders don’t build many for very good reason. Most of the cost of housing these days is the cost of the land – and bungalows use land inefficiently.

            Do you think that people are willing to pay much more to live in a bungalow? Builders have clearly decided otherwise. They would know.

          • Todd Unctious

            Sought after at the seaside usually.

          • Yorkieeye

            That’s another planning issue. Too few low rise apartment buildings have lifts.

          • HJ777

            The discussion is on what should be built, not what already exists.

            It’s also a fallacy that most old people can’t manage a few stairs.

          • Hamburger

            They should.

          • Todd Unctious

            Oh yes revolutionised. The typical OAPis now aged 83, only 20 years ago the typical OAP was 74. Some are very well off. They rattle around like peas in a drum in houses too big for them. While others survive on £150 a week and a 20 minute visit from a Latvian teenager with a sponge and some cottage pie every other day.

          • commenteer

            Well, possibly. My view may well be skewed by the fact that my parents, now 89 and 92, are managing well by themselves and thoroughly enjoy life, despite the usual share of ailments.
            As for houses being too big, I never quite know what this means. On the logic that every bedroom should have a permanent inhabitant, I suppose none of us should be in ‘family’ houses for more than about twenty years. I don’t begrudge my parents their three bedrooms, any more than I would expect my own living arrangements to be criticised. In fact, as the elderly spend so much time at home, they are the age group most in need of space and comfort, don’t you think?

          • Callipygian

            Hear hear. Can’t stand poky houses, with their poky bathrooms and worse, poky kitchens. I like different places to sit, and a decent space for exercise. I also like substantial ‘outdoor rooms’. Last not least: I like to be as far away from other people as possible. Neighbours should be seen and not heard, and preferably rarely seen. (I’m 48 by the way, and work at home.)

        • Yorkieeye

          I think it’s a bit of an assumption that the only human interaction the elderly have is with shop keepers.

          • HJ777

            Where did I mention shopkeepers?

    • purpleacky

      Advantages of a bungalow for old people (compared to a flat):

      1. Space to park a car (most retired people still have a car btw)
      2. A garden to spend time in (a lot of old people enjoy gardening and it’s good exercise)
      3. Usually have spare bedrooms for grandchildren staying over etc.
      4. No lift or stairs
      5. Usually in safe quiet areas

      • HJ777

        How did you work that out?

        1. If you consume more land for the amount of housing (as bungalows do), you are left with less room to park cars. You don’t magically create more land by building bungalows – in fact you leave less for other uses.

        2. You have less room for gardens if you use land inefficiently for housing (as you do with bungalows).

        3. You are less likely to have spare bedrooms because you can afford less space because you are spending more on the land and so less on the actual building.

        4. A minute ago you were advocating exercise. Now you want to avoid stairs. Why are stairs a bad thing but long walks to local services a good thing?

        5. What evidence have you that areas with bungalows are safer?

        • John Richmond

          For an elderly person – particularly one with arthritis in the knees – getting up and down stairs can be a severe trial. Do that multiple times a day and it’s very wearing. Walking on the flat or on slight inclines is far less wearing.

          • HJ777

            It depends on the distances and whether you have a stair or conventional lift.

        • EasyStreet

          Flats generally don’t have individual gardens; shared gardens aren’t really a suitable substitute for the retired hobbyist gardener. And I’m quite sure you can think of a reason why stairs can be a very bad thing for the elderly. You had some good arguments otherwise, so why spoil them with two obviously flawed ones in the name of hitting every bullet point?

          • HJ777

            My mother (in her late 80s) lives in a terraced house. She has a garden – thus proving that you don’t need a bungalow to have a garden (assuming you want a garden).

            Maintenance of the garden is a much bigger headache for her than managing stairs (which she does with ease).

            Where are my ‘obviously flawed’ arguments?

          • EasyStreet

            The first obvious flaw in your most recent post is using the solitary example of your mother to prove your previous (obviously flawed) point that stairs don’t present a problem to the elderly. Plenty of elderly people do find stairs a problem – the existence of a market for stairlifts should be evidence enough for that.

            The second obvious flaw in your most recent post is that you have used the example of your mother’s terraced house to show that you can have a garden without having a bungalow, when all of your previous (obviously flawed) argument was in relation to flats, which don’t generally have gardens. Your mother does not live in a flat, so her example is completely useless as evidence to support your previous (obviously flawed) point.

            Like I said, the rest of your original post was valid. You just got the bit between your teeth and tried to rebut each of the bullet points, when two of them were not really amenable to the treatment you gave them. There are good arguments for building flats instead of bungalows, but availability of gardens and suitability for the frailer end of the population are not among them.

          • HJ777

            Your first flaw is to assert that I was comparing bungalows only to flats. If you care to read what I wrote you will see that this is not the case. I was comparing them to more land area-efficient forms of housing.

            So on to your second flaw. Are you telling me that my mother’s experience is unusual? Where is your evidence for that? My point was a simple one – you have no evidence that stairs present a bigger problem to elderly people than maintaining gardens.

            And as you admit, where stairs are a problem, there are well known solutions available.

          • Todd Unctious

            So you are 56.

          • HJ777

            I’m not sure how you worked that out, but you are wrong!

        • HD2

          5. You can’t fall down stairs.

          • HJ777

            That has nothing to do with the area.

    • HD2

      twaddle.
      Old people are not immobile (heard of on-line shopping?) and taxis exist too, for those very elderly who do not drive (most do, well into their 80’s)

      • HJ777

        I’m glad that you announced your post to be twaddle because it prepared me for what followed.

        One minute you are saying stairs are a problem, the next you are saying that old people aren’t immobile. Can you online shop for your GP? Can you online shop for a coffee shop? Can you online shop to see friends? Does needing to drive everywhere do anything to reduce or control congestion?

        • HD2

          Yes – GPs do home visits.
          [In France, that’s the norm]

          • HJ777

            Trust me, it isn’t the norm in France.

            GP visits (even in France) are for when people can’t reasonably leave their house, not because they don’t live close by. If GPs had to visit lots of people at home in spread out areas, the costs would rise hugely.

          • HD2

            My small children were visited by my in-laws local GP when they were ill in Archamps, France in the 1990’s.
            I also noted that when we rang her, I spoke directly to the GP, and not to her secretary.
            I noted there was a fee (in 1997/8 it was 10 Euros) payable to her directly, in addition to the cost of the medicine payable to the pharmacy (always pessaries in France!)
            I later noted the superb, restaurant-quality hospital meals that my father-in-law enjoyed (truly, enjoyed) when in hospital for a minor op.
            Each was three courses and included a half-bottle of wine too!

      • Todd Unctious

        After 75 physical and mental health deteriorates rapidly. Over half of over 80s, the oldest old, suffer falls each year. 40% of over 75s have hearing loss, over half have sight problems, one third have serious digestive issues, one third have hypertension, half have arthritis, mobility problems and cannot sleep at night. Many are incontinent.
        We now have 5.5 million over 75s and two thirds have serious health issues.

  • HJ777

    “builders don’t see the point of bungalows — they think ‘single-storey dwellings’ take up too much land space and don’t pay their way.”

    That’s because they take up too much land space and don’t pay their way (given that most of the cost of a house is now the land it is built on).

    • HD2

      ..as a result of the State rationing available building land’

  • rationalobservations?

    How did Bungalows get their name?
    The builder of the first one ran out of bricks so he said: “Just bung a low roof on it”.

    • Todd Unctious

      No. It simply means Bengali. The homes built for East India Company officers were one storey in the Bengali style.

      • Hamburger

        A joke methinks.

        • rationalobservations?

          I think Todd must have had a humour-bypass at some time?

          It’s not much of a joke, admittedly.

        • Todd Unctious

          Where is the punchline?

          • Hamburger

            Look, I’m German and got it. You must be able. Try harder.

          • Todd Unctious

            If a German thinks it funny it simply cannot be a joke.

          • Hamburger

            Our humour, especially in the north is better than you think. The Angels came from nearby.

          • Todd Unctious

            The Angles were from Jutland. Danish, not Deutsche.

          • Hamburger

            They came from an area just north of the Schlei, south of Flensburg in Schleswig Holstein. The area is still known as Angeln. When I last looked it was part of Germany.

          • Todd Unctious

            Part of Germany since the 1864 War with Denmark.

          • Hamburger

            The Angles were a Germanic tribe. A little research would show you that.

  • CockneyblokefromReading

    To do this (build more bungalows) the planning permission needs to state that only bungalows will be approved – we need to take the type of housing out of the hands of the developer. Usually I would hate the state to impose something, but here it would be necessary, just as you really shouldn’t allow your heating engineer to dictate which heating system you have (because he’ll always install what’s best for him).

    A 1-bed bungalow takes up no more space than an average house. My mother is in the council house she was born in nearly 80 years ago (still Council-owned). They have asked her if she would give up the 3-bed home, and offered a flat on a very rough housing estate. Is that clever? What they should be offering is a 1-bed bungalow. Instead, the local council just keep approving more and more flats.

    • HJ777

      “A 1-bed bungalow takes up no more space than an average house.”

      But houses fewer people and is therefore an inefficient use of scarce building land.

      • purpleacky

        On the other hand, I suspect there would be less nimby resistance to bungalows being built then typical high density developments, as the residents are unlikely to cause trouble.

        • HJ777

          I doubt it since they require much more land to be built on for the same amount of housing capacity.

          Most housing developments in this country aren’t high density anyway, unfortunately. This is because of regulations that mandate low rise developments as well as minimum density – so what we get is mostly toy town developments.

          • purpleacky

            Depends what you mean by high density, but I see plenty of new builds with tiny gardens and insufficient parking. Totally impractical as a long term family home. Sounds like you want us to live like battery hens TBH.

          • HJ777

            That is a consequence of planning permission requiring a minimum density and a maximum height. Nothing other than shoe boxes can then be built.

            Height restrictions need to be relaxed as they are in most European countries which are building much better housing as a result.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            I take your point about the footprint, but in my mother’s case, if they would give her a 1-bed bungalow, it would free-up a 3-bed house (for a family). In my job, I get to visit lots of people living on their own in a family-sized house. When you speak to them, they often say that they don’t want a flat. But if you suggest a bungalow (even semi-detached) they are all for it. Although, as I say, I get your point about the footprint, we do need to build bungalows for the elderly (not flats), if only to free-up 3-bed homes. I would also like to see ‘starter-pods’ for the young. My niece doesn’t stand a chance of getting a house for a long time, or even a starter flat. A small estate of ‘starter-pods’, properly managed and controlled, in each town, would give 20-somethings independence and a start on the housing ladder. Where I live, the flats are almost as expensive as the houses, as they tend to be modern. So she doesn’t stand a chance on her own, and has to share a house with three other young people – and she’s on a good salary. This is wrong.

            We HAVE to change our property system. Currently, it’s unfair on the young AND the elderly.

          • HJ777

            A bungalow uses up more land than a house for the same floor area. A one-bed bungalow probably uses more than a 3-bed house because it has both bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor.

            Given that most of the cost of a house/bungalow is the land, what problem does building more bungalows solve? They would be more expensive. We are not short of bricks (which are cheap) – we are short of land to build on.

            If a family needs/wants a 3-bed house, then it is more efficient to build one, rather than building a bungalow so that someone can move out of a 3-bed house in order to free one up for people who want one.

          • CockneyblokefromReading

            Yes, I fully take your point about the footprint, as I said, you are correct. But you’re wrong where a 1-BED bungalow is described – it definitely takes up less space. The problem it solves is getting families housed. A 1-bed single-storey home is cheaper to build than a 3-bed double-storey house. It isn’t enormous in difference because the footprint is similar (and land is a big part of the cost), but IS smaller. The cost difference is still significant. I work in homes that are 1-bed and perfectly square. It’s a great layout with entrance hall, bathroom to ‘east’ (so to speak), bedroom to north-east, lounge to west, and kitchen to north. That simple design is very cheap to achieve and really quite small – certainly not nearly a big enough footprint for a 3-bed house. Add stairs, other bedrooms, a dining room, an additional bathroom/shower-room & toilet, and a bigger kitchen to cope for a family, and the cost rises, as I say, significantly against a small 1-bed bungalow. The trouble is, these places I work in are flats. But there is absolutely no reason why you couldn’t take that design for a bungalow, none at all…apart from the purpose of our planning laws. If you took an estate-sized piece of land, you could get more 1-bed bungalows in than you could 3-bed homes. The thing is, they prefer to put flats in because they can maximise their profits and maximise the number of inhabitants. But flats aren’t liked.

          • jennybloggs

            What about maintenance charges for flats? Years ago we bought a very nice new build flat. Two bedrooms, large rooms, beautiful landscaping. However in time the maintenance charges had increased so much we decided to sell up and buy a house, using what had been the maintenance charge for a higher mortgage. Best long term financial decision we ever made. In principle I agree with you about building high, but blocks of flats age and if the building and the communal areas are not well maintained, they can become slums.

          • HD2

            Simply limit the housing density to under 3 units/acre, which was the 1970 limit, – rather than the MINIMUM of 16/acre imposed by Whitehall today – and you’d see local residents welcoming new developments and local people welcoming their new, cheaper-by-40-to-60%-new homes.

          • HJ777

            One minute you are complaining about government regulation and the next you are advocating new regulations.

            There is a big problem with mandated low density development – it hugely raises supporting infrastructure costs and increases traffic congestion.

          • HD2

            It meets customer demand.
            Which is what should ALWAYS happen.

          • HJ777

            There is always customer demand if someone else is paying the bill.

            Ask people if they want such infrastructure and they may say yes. Ask them to pay personally, rather than passing the costs onto taxpayers, and you generally get a different response.

            As Bastiat said: “Government is the great fiction whereby everyone tries to live at everyone else’s expense”

            So no, customer demand should only be met if customers are willing to pay themselves. I do not want to pay for increased infrastructure costs due to other people’s housing choices. They should be prepared to pay.

          • HD2

            Road taxes = £42 billion pa
            Road spending – under £2 billion

            People might reasonably expect £42 billion of rod taxes to be spent on roads.
            NOT rail
            NOT airports
            NOT buses
            But roads.

            My solution would be to 100% privatise all non-urban roads, to a large number (over 20) of fiercely competing companies with each RoadCo receiving money based on:
            traffic volumes
            average speeds
            and with deductions for:
            accidents
            lane closures.

            Each RoadCo would be free to set their own speed limits and be free of all planning laws and other restrictive impositions with regard to road upgrades: whatever they wanted to do, they could do, subject only to a generalised requirements to build roads as unobtrusively as reasonably practicable.

            With, say, £1-2 trillion spent over the next 100 years, we’d have decent road network by 2115

          • HJ777

            There are no road taxes – there are emissions and fuel taxes. Roads are maintained out of general taxation.

            Spending on roads is considerably more than £2bn per year. The Highways Agency alone spends about that much.

            At the moment, road transport is effectively subsidised because users do not pay rental on the asset value of the roads. If you privatised roads, then the new owners would, not unreasonably, want to generate a return on the value of their asset, not just enough to cover maintenance, in the same way as a landlord charges rent to make a return on the asset value of the house and not just to pay for maintenance.

            This is, of course, why the privately built and operated motorways in France are so expensive. Their charges reflect real costs.

          • HD2

            The Highways Agency is i/c Britain’s roads: it spends ~5% of teh total sum raised by motorists each year, whilst years ago the sums were broadly equal.

            The balance is a subsidy for rail fares (roughly 50%); buses; and for cyclists – who demand ‘cycle lanes’ yet are not prepared to pay any tax to fund them.
            The bodged-up patches you see in towns are LA penny-pinching.

          • HJ777

            Clearly you have no clue what you are talking about.

            The vast majority of roads in the UK are neither built nor maintained by the Highways Agency. Most are maintained by local authorities.

            Rail fares are not subsidised by 50%.

            Spending on cycling facilities in the UK is negligible and cyclists pay tax like everyone else.

          • HD2

            Twaddle from first to last – all money comes from the Treasury, and this from taxpayers.
            Tell me – what’s the road fund license on a bicycle?
            Or the VAT & fuel duty on its power source (ie food)?
            Or why the ONS says rail fare subsidies are slowly declining (marginally) from the >60% of 2008?

          • HJ777

            Having read your post, I can confirm that you were correct to announce it as “Twaddle from first to last”.

            The Road Fund Licence was abolished in 1937.

            For many years now, we have had Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) which is based on emissions. Bicycles don’t emit CO2 so are zero-rated. Many low emissions motor vehicles are also zero-rated.

            Cyclists pay tax like everyone else. They just don’t pollute or kill people when they use the roads.

            Rail fares are not subsidised by 50%. It varies across the UK, but the figure for England is around 25%. In the UK as a whole, taxpayer support for the rail industry is about 30% of its income (which is still too high in my opinion).

          • HD2

            I’m beyond bored with your pig-headed pedantic stupidity – goodbye (why’s there no ‘block’ function?)

          • HJ777

            You are bored with being shown up as poorly informed and unable to present a coherent argument and so respond with abuse, you mean.

            You really are a charmless individual.

      • HD2

        But building land is NOT scarce: governments have elected to severely ration it, thus driving up house prices (and home borrowing) thus impoverishing the average family and raising lots more lovely tax money from the banks.

        • HJ777

          Land with planning permission is scarce.

          • Todd Unctious

            Half the land in Britain is owned by just 7,000 rich individuals. Tax them on their wealth or appropriate a fraction of their land.

          • HD2

            North Korea also rations building land.
            No UK government should do so on a blanket basis: it should stop building ONLY in designated areas (such as AoONB SSSIs, Nat Parks).

            The Town And Cpountry Planning Acts have been an unmitigated disaster for all except UK banks.

    • HJ777

      “A 1-bed bungalow takes up no more space than an average house.”

      But houses fewer people and is therefore an inefficient use of scarce building land.

    • HD2

      Far from ‘taking it out of the hands of the developer’ the entire planning laws should be scrapped, so the builder can put up what the market demands – not what some anonymous Whitehall mandarin has imposed on the local suit in the Council planning dept under the misleading term ‘targets’.

  • purpleacky

    It’s not just bungalows, but we need more lower density housing in general. I have seen 4 bed detached new homes built with just 1 parking space, no front garden, and no on road parking (this is in the suburbs, not the city centre). To me this seems totally useless, as wouldn’t most people need more then one car if they live in a 4 bedroom house. Not to mention the problem if you ever have friends to visit.

    Houses built in the 80s and earlier generally have much bigger gardens and plenty of parking. I think a lot of the new builds will end up being very low in value once the ‘new car smell’ wears off. We’ll probably have to knock them all down and start again before too long, what a waste!

    • HJ777

      Then you will need to build on much more land and, because housing will be more spread out, you will need more car use.

      The solution is higher density housing in urban areas, so that the need for car use is reduced. Our low density housing compared to other European countries is a major reason for traffic congestion.

      • HD2

        But very few wish to live in such accommodation, given an equally-sized dwelling of equal price.

        It’s not up to HMG to dictate where or how new houses can be built and so where or how I must live.

        It IS up to HMG to provide the necessary infrastructure to cope with OUR demands: they’ve comprehensively failed to do that since WW2 at least, squandering every available tax penny (and borrowed money) on Welfare instead.

        • HJ777

          You don’t know that. Current planning regulations don’t give most people the choice – but all the evidence is that there is huge demand, as flats and multi-story terraced houses in town centres command high prices. And if you use land less efficiently, you will not get an equal sized dwelling for an equal price – that is exactly why builders choose to build very few bungalows any more.

          “It IS up to HMG to provide the necessary infrastructure to cope with OUR demands”

          HMG has no money of its own. If the infrastructure cost is higher because of your demands, then you should pay, not other taxpayers.

          • HD2

            I DO know that – because in places where the government does NOT arbitrarily dictate where and how you may live, most people choose to live in detached properties with decently-sized gardens.

            Infrastructure is what governments are supposed to use our taxes for – NOT Welfarism.

          • HJ777

            And where is your evidence for that?

          • HD2

            Zoopla.

          • HD2

            I’ve lived in France, USA, Italy, Australia and Eire to know what I’m talking about. I also have experience of South African house prices, but there’s no possible way I’d consider that as an appropriate comparison to the UK.

    • HD2

      I agree 100%. the MINIMUM standard should be one off-street parking-space per bedroom PLUS ONE.

      That would mean houses being built at 3-4/acre, which creates leafy suburbs which are a delight in which to live.
      And yes, that WOULD mean building over another 1-2% of the UK, as the 5 million or so houses that pent-up demand would require: house prices would then be 30-40% or current levels (even less (ie an even bigger reduction from current prices) in the most desirable areas of the SE)

  • Bonkim

    Land is scarce and expensive – bungalows use more land per sqmeter of a dwelling.

    • Todd Unctious

      So let’s put all the over 80s in tower blocks, numpty.

      • Bonkim

        Do you know how much it costs to adapt a bungalow for the disabled?

        When one reaches a certain age, best to put them in sheltered accommodation so there can be someone on call in emergencies.

        Care in the community sounds nice but most older folk are lonely and suffer quietly and don’t want to trouble their neighbours. Most have been used to the stiff upper lip era.

        There is also a view that mass housing along the lines of prefabs meeting current building standards is the way out and given the planning difficulties high density multi-storey apartments is the answer for the younger generation that don’t want land and gardens to look after – they have no time/inclination.

        Times are changing, one has to adapt to need.

        • Ambientereal

          The best solution is to build an elders- residency consisting of many tiny bungalows distributed in a green area, with the care persons in a central dwelling.

          • Bonkim

            Yes – but many sheltered accommodation units are now in multi-storey blocks

        • Tom M

          “…..When one reaches a certain age, best to put them in sheltered accommodation so there can be someone on call in emergencies……”
          Yes that’s the theory anyway. My mother lived in one of those and fell out of bed one night. She pulled the cord and the warden arrived. Over six foot my mother reckoned. “Sorry can’t lift you up love, I’m not trained”. he said.
          He called the central control. Two teenagers arrived in a car (my mother’s scathing comment).
          “Sorry we can’t lift you either because we’re not trained/insured.”
          They called for an amulance. Two “slips of girls” (my mother again) arrived. Note there are now five people in the bedroom and my mother is still on the floor.
          A heave ho and she was back in bed thanks to the ambulance crew.
          Object lesson in how sheltered housing shouldn’t be done. Thank you Derby city council.

  • Gilbert White

    Yes fine but old people living in a Bungalow will be vunerable to nightmarish frenzied attacks by mainly foreign immigrants? Would feel safer in bush suburbs of Brisbane?

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    It’s not the age, it’s the mileage.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    The area occupied by the stairs, both ground and first floor is quite significant.

    • HJ777

      I have a big storage cupboard under my stairs, so the area occupied by those stairs is small. Is this not usually the case?

  • HD2

    Simply remove State control over building and allow a free market in UK housing to re-establish itself. Over 20 years or so, house prices would decline to their pre-rationing multiples of average earnings – or roughly 30% of today’s prices.

  • PeteTongue

    Low density housing solutions for the elderly with Polish nurses in Micras checking up on them ain’t the future. Town planners and sociologists long understand why.

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